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PESHAWAR: Peshawar High court (PHC) on Tuesday restrained Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government from imposing taxes on the industrial units situated in tribal distrusts of the province.

The order was issued by a two-judge bench of PHC after the court was informed that due to economic backwardness, federal and provincial governments have given exemption in taxes to industries in the tribal districts to encourage and support them in the revival of economic activities in war-affected districts

The court was informed that not only tribal districts but also Malakand division, which was earlier, called as provincially administrated tribal areas, is also tax-free for industries.

The case in this regard was filed by industries owners in tribal districts through senior lawyer Shumail Ahmad Butt. The attorney has argued in the court has after the passage of 25th amendment, though the area has been merged with the province, it was also ensured that no new taxes will be enforced on industries for a period of five years. However, despite the clear cut directions, said the lawyer, government officials are sending notices to industries unit’s owners demanding for taxes.

Shumail Butt added that if they were forced to pay taxes, the already war-affected industries will come to a complete standstill. Butt added that if the industrial units were shut down, it will create huge unemployment in the region.

The bench of hearing the arguments restrained the government departments from sending notices for the tax to industries situated in tribal districts and Malakand division of the province.

On February 2, KP government, during the first cabinet meeting in Khyber District, has exempted the tribal districts from all kind of provincial taxes. However, it was decided that taxes in vogue in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal areas will remain intact but no new tax will be imposed on tribal people.

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